Apr 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

IRS calls 10,000 employees back to work, must bring their own masks

The IRS building

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Internal Revenue Service called roughly 10,000 employees back to work this week, but it is requiring that they provide their own facial masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic.

The state of play: Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have blasted the plan, issuing a statement saying it's "completely irresponsible and unethical for the IRS to demand those workers obtain their own protective equipment."

  • A memo notes that employees who do not provide their own equipment may be forced to return home.
  • The agency has offered incentive pay to employees who volunteer to return to the agency first. The memo says that workers will be directly ordered to return if they do not volunteer first.

Why it matters: The IRS is currently at the height of its demand season, facing both annual tax returns and the disbursements of the federal government's coronavirus stimulus checks.

Go deeper